Last night, Hugh and I put baby booties on sea birds. Actually, baby socks made into bird booties.
There were grebes and murres in our section of the hospital. More than 400 ailing seabirds were driven by van and flown by a Coast Guard C-130 to IBRRC in Fairfield, California. The birds came from Washington and Oregon where they’d landed on beaches, sick and dying, covered in algae slime. Local centers up north were overflowing.
Why Birds Have to Wear Booties
Booties protect their seabird feet — feet more acclimated to the ocean than to standing on mesh or hard surfaces. After multiple washings, and a super-heated drying period in special pens, the birds are given fluids and wrapped in protective gear to ensure their well-being while they stay in the hospital. They are later transferred to outdoor pens, then ultimately released.
We were able to stop in for a volunteer shift after work. But if you’d like to help remotely, IBRRC always needs donations for the incredible work they do during event such as these, oil spills, and in response to the daily travails facing seabirds and shorebirds. You can read the full story on this particular algae situation here. There’s a link to a donation page from the story.
There was a “small” oil spill in San Francisco Bay this morning, but no reports yet of injured wildlife. If oiled birds do show up on our beaches, it will be IBRRC that will most likely care for them.
** I am not affiliated with IBRRC. I volunteer at another wildlife hospital so I have a vested interest in helping the animals, but no financial interest in IBRRC — much as I love them and the beautiful things they do.
Here’s a video of the rescue operation: